Last issue of Collection Advisor the leaders of the Top 10 Innovative Agencies let us know what they had innovated to improve their collection practice. As the New Year is upon us and many are making their resolutions for the year, we asked them how does your agency create an environment of innovation. Dive in, take notes, implement in your office and make 2019 your best year yet!
Question: How does your agency foster an environment of innovation?
American Profit Recovery
Jeff DiMatteo President
Communication is key to our innovation. We are constantly involving our employees in not only mission–critical but also community service initiatives which fosters trust and collaboration. There is constant teamwork between departments, management and our software professionals to encourage best practices and to improve experiences for all. A major part of our culture is to be constantly thinking “How can we do it better?”
Kenlyn T. Gretz President and CEO
We have built an internal department of project analytics from the ground up. If you are a front-line collector and want to help build new tools to make us faster and nicer to the consumer, we have a career path to help you do that. We teach you report writing, project management and small amounts of programming. We also have our own staff of software developers.
Roger D. Weiss President
I believe the best way to foster an environment of innovation is to look, study, watch, listen, network, and collaborate. Remain a student of the game. Talk to companies both inside the collections space, and those having nothing to do with collections to get a completely diff erent paradigm of ideas. I’m a big advocate of attending the industry trade shows as well. ACA International off ers tremendous opportunities to learn about new products and to network with those using them.
Marc A. Carter President
An environment of innovation can best be fostered through the constant questioning of existing processes and the desire for improvement either through automation or consolidation of workfl ows. Similarly, a technologically inclined under-40 team member encourages thinking outside existing business boundaries while utilizing available technology and applying “why can’t we” to the equation.
CBE Companies, Inc.
Tom Penaluna Chairman and CEO
Actually “innovation” is one of our core values that we talk about often. Employees would all tell you our tag line, “Defi ning the future of debt collection,” which keeps innovation front and center to our work. We invest more dollars in IT solutions than the industry average to accommodate innovation. We have self-identifi ed and defi ned problems the collection industry has been experiencing, and then we design and innovate solutions to many of those problems.
Credit Bureau Services, LLC
Debbie Frank CEO
Our G.R.O.W. program is changing the way our account representatives interact with consumers, by training them to help consumers. G.R.O.W. stands for Gaining Resources, Opportunities and Wealth. The program assists consumers with fi nding employment, connecting them with local resources, and helping them build wealth. We know that life happens and we want consumers to G.R.O.W. through it! The Bureau is doing work that matters!
Credit Collection Partners
Rick Bonitzer President
Culture. Your management team must make it known that ideas and outside-the-box thinking in all areas of the business are encouraged and desired from everyone. Never accept the answer, “Well that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Never be satisfi ed with the status quo; always look for improvement. This philosophy needs to be disseminated in board meetings, executive management meetings, supervisor/manager/sales huddles, with company-wide staff meetings tying it all together.
Jeff Freedman and Saul Freedman CEO/Principal
I think the most important aspects of fostering an innovative environment are: never being satisfi ed, constantly looking for ways to improve (even if something is not broken), encouraging everyone in the organization to question the status quo, being open to trying new things, not being afraid of failure, and finally, willingness to assume some risk.
Southern Oregon Credit Service
Brian Watkins President
You must want to innovate. It will not “just happen.” Your clients will not do it for you. Your company must make a decision to stay in the forefront of technology and not get left behind. I know of way too many agency owners who thought the world was not going to change, and they wake up one day very surprised their company is struggling to attract new clients.
State Collection Service, Inc.
Tom Haag Chairman and CEO
Fostering an environment of innovation requires the freedom to think about solutions to the question, “How can we be better?” In fact, we believe so strongly in this that we dedicate offsite meetings to discussing innovation. Exploring leading-edge technologies like speech analytics, gamification, and advanced data science came from these meetings and our culture of communication that encourages staff to share solutions. We know that the “next big thing” is just a conversation away.